The features we wanted and needed in or software and love about Lightspeed are:
100% Cloud based solution
True Omni Channel environment
Extremely well written software and Knowledge base
Ability to upload vendor price list, descriptions to Lightspeed All of our vendors information is at our finger tips, before we would have to hunt or go looking for this information now it’s just there.
Growing a retail business today can be done with lightspeed, since they have thought out whole process, and added a robust interface of features
A seamless connection to QuickBooks online.
We went out and reviewed, demoed almost 20 POS vendors some that were more specific to our industry and some that weren't and the boiled it down to 3 for all of our staff to review since they were going to be using the software daily and focused on the employee that has the most stress related to their respective job and targeted it first and secondly everyone else
We had to have 24/7 support
The most important feature we needed was it had to empower our team thru the business model we run and grow the team in all aspects of our business
It took a lot of time to get the information together from our 30+ year old company to go over to lightspeed platform from our old systems, and it was quite a chore for a small company. And not all of our information could come over in the initial installation lightspeed was somewhat limited, we could not bring our customers history and vendor history either. Reporting could be better and should be included with the base product, you will at some point "have to have the reports add-on" it is however an amazing extension on the base product. You have to have a good internet connection since you will be using a 100% Cloud based product, and you will have to have a backup internet connection, so you are always connected.
We went out and reviewed, demoed almost 20 POS vendors some that were more specific to our industry and some that weren't and the boiled it down to 3 for all of our staff to review. We focused on the employee that gets the most stress with their respective job and targeted it first and secondly everyone else and Lightspeed has done this.
We've been open a little over three years. When we first opened, we explored over a dozen Point of Sale systems including Revel, Shopkeep, Vend, Lightspeed Retail, Square, and several others. We decided on Lightspeed, but discovered they didn't have a clear roadmap for Apple Pay, and so we went with our second choice, Shopkeep.
Shopkeep was fantastic for the first year, but as our inventory grew (we carry over 10,000 unique SKUs), it's inventory management features started to feel sluggish, and receiving orders each week started to take a significant amount of time. During our second year, we started reevaluating all the players again, and setup a trial account with Lightspeed Retail.
Certain things seemed counter intuitive at first - if we mistakenly created an item, we couldn't simply delete it, for example. This is because Lightspeed Retail strives to preserve all financial and transactional data; since an item could contain a sales history, it can't be deleted. Instead, it's archived, and can be restored to visibility with the click of a button. Over time, we've come to appreciate this feature, and the sheer amount of data that is provided through the system.
Inventory Counts can be done quickly - grab an iPad and a bar code scanner, and just start scanning items on your slat wall, shelf, or other display area. When you're done, you can review the counts, reconcile them, and get information on shrinkage, etc.
Acquiring product and receiving it is a breeze. We can build our POs in Lightspeed Retail - using trigger points or by simply adding items to an open PO. We can then email that PO directly to our distributor, who processes it. When the items come in, we can quickly receive them either using a barcode scanner, keying in the item counts line by line, or doing a visual confirmation and clicking the "receive everything and do the right thing" buttons. Printing labels with barcodes is a breeze.
What really sets Lightspeed apart is their service. I can honestly say that I have no idea how to setup the label printer on our Lightspeed system, because whenever we install a new laptop or desktop that needs access, I simply chat with Lightspeed support and they remote into our system and do the right thing. When we set our printer up the first time, the print was a little too far to the left for my liking. They tweaked the templates on the fly, with me offering help like "No, a little more to the right" until it was done. They're insanely helpful.
- Excellent Purchase Order Workflow
- Easy tool to do inventory counts quickly
- (Beta) Import Tool makes it easy to bulk load new items, or update existing ones
- Supports custom fields to add additional information to items (Release Dates, for example)
- Phone and online support is fantastic
- May seem pricey if you aren't leveraging all the features
- Limited barcode scanner compatibly
- Custom fields are not currently searchable
I was hired as an IT pro to migrate a customer to Lightspeed. I have just under a decade in migrating large platforms and I have worked with numerous vendors over the years. Based on my experience, you can quickly assess which companies are "Sales Based" and possess no real infrastructure beyond the "Sale". These companies usually have very slick front-end websites, but fall very short when assisting paying customers to actually make use of the service. It is unfortunate that Lightspeed falls into this category. Lot's of promises up front, but obtaining capable support is not possible. Despite escalation and numerous phone calls and emails, not a single return contact was made within a week's time. To be sure, you can get a tier 1 person within usually a day, but they are untrained and are able to answer only simplistic questions. When a request for a supervisor is made or an escalation is requested, communications cease. Compounding this problem is the telephone "Firewall" they have erected around anyone empowered to address even the most basic of concerns. Over a week's time, I have been told supervisors are "Not Available" and will "Call Back" as soon as is possible. A weeks time to return a call to a paying customer is (far) more than sufficient time to allow. Unfortunately, once Lightspeed has your money, you as the customer are "SOL"! As a seasoned professional, it is my opinion that Lightspeed is a poorly run company and shows a troubling and dismissive attitude towards its paying customers. This "treatment" of its clients is well reflected in the reviews here. I am NOT a Lightspeed customer, as I am hired to work between the client and Lightspeed. As an IT professional, watching how this company treats its paying clientele has been disturbing.
Is very flexible, can be made pretty (if you can figure out the documentation), and does interface with other modules
The company, the company attitude, and the support it provides to paying customers. The experience during the "Sale" was filled with promises of support and help to move from a new account to a finished "Go-Live" product. Unfortunately, the Lightspeed platform is highly proprietary and therefore, success for most is dependent upon satisfactory support from the company. Here, they fall short of success and short of the promises made. When attempting to work with the company, they fall short again, lacking any of tier 2 or 3 technicians needed to satisfy anything more than a basic question. This leaves so many of the customers without any real ability to make use of what they were sold. This is a company predicated on "Sales", "Sales Pitches" and "Promises", but fails to deliver on what was promised and paid for.
Overall the software is amazing and the good outweighs the bad and a tested about 10 different PoS softwares when I was shopping around and none of them encompass everything I have mentioned so i know my expectations are very high....which is why I state again...if they added in these features it would make them industry leaders and really a phenomenal PoS system. (its 90% of the way there for me...just a few more features and if would be the best)
The integration with xero accounting has been a true time saver for my business. It transfers all sales data at the end of the day seamlessly so I don't have to. The ability to use the front end off site has been super helpful as well as it doesn't tie me down to the store and I can do a lot of my work on the go. Creating products, invoicing clients, setting up the main screen custom to what I want is extremely simple once you run through it once.
Theres a few simple features that are missing from the PoS software which I would like to see integrated and would make it hands down the best in the industry for small businesses.
1) Getting an integrated payment terminal that accepts chip, pay pass and swipe options would avoid any mistakes between manually punching in the amounts on the debit/credit machine and would avoid any back end work after the day closes to be able to balance the day
2) Allowing me to enter the details of the invoices (supplier name, invoice number, total amount being paid, gst, pst, etc.) that are being paid out on a daily basis and having that information transferred to xero would alleviate tons of paper work after the close of the day.
3) There is no way to pull out a month end statement for corporate clients that pay their account once a month. Checks have to be cross referenced manually with the bills that have been put on tab. You should be able to at the very least select which tab invoices are being paid from the list of invoices on the clients account. This would show which ones are outstanding at a glance rather than having to refer back to the paper invoices that the system creates.
4) A front facing screen to display pricing of items being charged, advertisements, and other information is something I have been asking for since day 1 (3 years now). And I would love to see this feature incorporated.
5) Having the ability to offer a discount for a bulk purchase is something that should be automatic.
Nice user interface. Good features for a shop that does service work. Cloud-based software makes it easy and convenient.
Our bike shop has been using Lightspeed for 5 years now, first with their Mac based software, and then with their cloud based software (Lightspeed Retail). There are many great things about the software, but on the whole I would not recommend a small business owner to hitch their cart to this company. There are significant bugs, inventory control is a disaster, but worst of all, fundamentally Lightspeed does not care about their customers. What Lightspeed cares about is their roadmap which in most cases doesn't deal with fundemental issues that their customers have been bringing up for years - if you have any doubt on this, look at their "ideas" page where top voted on features and requests have sat dormant for years.
My frustration has boiled over due to an issue with the way their inventory system works, and the way their customer service team has responded to my pleading that they at least give me an ETA on a fix. Here's the backstory: Lightspeed does a very peculiar thing which is that it will auto-add inventory if a product is sold but does not exist in inventory. Not only this, but Lightspeed will auto-check-in inventory off of POs if a product is sold. Now this in and of itself is a disaster as far as accountability is concerned: how is one supposed to track POs when product mysteriously gets checked in! But the worst part is that there is a bug in their system which will auto-check-in product off of POs if product is put into a work order. Doesn't matter if said product is sold or not, it will check-in the product regardless, causing a nightmare scenario where we are trying to figure out what POs have truly been received, and which POs Lightspeed has decided to receive automatically.
I brought this issue up for the first time around 6 months ago, and never got any solid response on a fix. I contacted support in April again. After a lot of back and forth about whether this was a real problem (like I love spending time contacting support) the support tech Derrick agreed that this was an issue. I asked for an ETA. No ETA was available.
I followed up a month later in May. Still no ETA, but Derrick assured me this was a priority, but also assured my significant problem that is causing myself and my staff time and frustration and vigilance and additional systems and workflows to remedy is "an extreme edge case scenario so I'm curious about how it could be causing you significant workflow issues."
So now we are in July. This supposedly "high priority" "extreme edge case" bug is still not fixed. No ETA. No communication. Since we started experiencing this issue Lightspeed has stuck an e-commerce link in the middle of the navigation bar and continued to work on integrating their e-commerece into every other cranny of the software, even if you don't use their e-commerce. They've added a new feature called Analytics which costs additional monthly fees. Their API is still slow and unsupported. Their App marketplace is effectively a Potemkin village of fake apps with no real syncing with the silo that is Lightspeed.
The promises of a cloud based POS are so great, but Lightspeed does not deliver. If you are looking to invest time and energy in a retail POS platform, I would strongly encourage you to look elsewhere. Lightspeed looks very slick on the surface, and it is quite good in many ways, but the underlying company culture does not put their customers first.
I run a tiny seasonal business for which this system was intended. If someone is unhappy with my service, refunding their money is not always my first approach, but if I know that I've fallen short on service, I absolutely look for a fair solution. I was fine with keeping the hardware originally sent to me and even paying for the time lapse on the software, but to say that all software sales are final when they are the one that set the contract lengths to being with is just shady and downright distasteful. It's not like they put money into developing software just for my company. In fact, any time I tried to get support to help tweak things, their support team seemed more annoyed than willing to help. Stay away from these guys.
I barely used this product. What sold me on it initially were the demos in being able to have a simple interface for my employees on both the retail and restaurant side and a much more detailed backend than square that supposedly integrates nicely with Quickbooks.
I was very specific about my operating needs. I am also very busy with small children and multiple businesses. The onboarding was described as very simple, and it was not. I needed three systems, and was told that was what I was paying for. They shot me an invoice which I did not read thoroughly enough. They put in fine print on the invoice that the invoice and payment is acceptance or their sales terms which you have to then go to their website to read. Once I asked for the hardware items that they did not send me, they also charged me for a bunch of extra software that were not part of the original sales discussion or even the second sales discussion. They never refunded me for two years of unused software when I decided that I was not interested in doing business with such a shady company. No class.
We would like to apologize for the service experience you had with Lightspeed. It is our utmost priority to provide a product and service that allows our customers to focus on running their businesses with ease.
We appreciate the feedback you have given us on our sales and onboarding processes and will be taking it into account in the future to ensure a better experience for other Lightspeed customers.
In regards to amending your contract, we would again like to apologize for any confusion or miscommunication. We had hoped the offer we presented and discussed in detail would have allowed us to move forward in your relationship with Lightspeed.
Once again, we apologize for your experience and that the decision we reached was not the outcome you desired.
We appreciate your understanding,
Customer Success Team
-We switched to Lightspeed from ShopKeep because we needed to manage the inventory of our 5 locations in one place. That part works okay, once you figure out all the idiosyncrasies of the restock and reorder system. We had to hire a person just to manage the work-arounds we put in place to make Lightspeed a functional system for my business (because there are so many tedious extra steps).
-Feeling stuck is the worst feeling as a small business owner. Lightspeed make me feel stuck. I hit a new wall in the system regularly, and when I ask for what I need, the answer is ALWAYS "no, we can't do that." Some examples:
-The system does very little to tie sales and inventory together, it does next to nothing. You can export a sales report by item name, which is great. It tells you how many you sold, your sales numbers, and how many you have left. But the vendor information nor the department information for the sold items is not on the export. That makes the report useless in terms of knowing what vendors your business is coming from. Their answer is you can then export vendor sales separately. That is not helpful, because that export does not include item info or department info, nor does it tell you your on-hand inventory. There is not a single way in Lightspeed to view your sales and on-hand inventory in one place, and because their exported reports are so sparing of relevant information, I can't even create my own. This is a major flaw. With ShopKeep, at least I could get my data out of the system to manipulate it how I needed. With Lightspeed, I am SOL.
-I don't even call customer service anymore because 100% of the time all they do is validate the problem and then offer no solution. Their consistent response is to tell me to make a suggestion to their developers.
-I have been in business 10 years. We have 5 locations, and a website. I have 40 employees. I think Lightspeed would work for a single location or 2 location business. But any more than the system creates more work than it takes away. Looking back, I wish I would have stayed with Shopkeep.
The check-out system is nice and easy.
For multi-locations it is helpful to see sales and inventory in one place.
-there is no flexibility in the system. The way Lightspeed wants you to see and retrieve your data is the ONLY way you can get your data. And their way 90% of the time is not relevant to the basic needs of a retailer to analyze and evaluate their business.
-Customer Service is not responsive. The company does not seem willing to listen to complaints or provide work arounds to the rigidity of the system.
- The eCom site is FULL of problems that they do not have a handle on. There are many limitations with the way you have to present information on the site.
-It's very expensive for what you get. I was willing to pay a premium for a system I was told would exceed our needs and expectations. For the 2 things it does well, there are 98 headaches.
-They do not offer refunds or a way out of your contract if you are unhappy.
We have used Lightspeed Retail for over 2 years now for our seasonal retail business as well as a small wholesale operations that includes manufacturing/production. While small scale compared with many POS users, we have unique and demanding needs and have struggled to find a good software interface. Lightspeed has been a solid performer and worked well for us.
We have a wide range of part time employees with various levels of tech savvy and expertise. Lightspeed is intuitive and user-friendly in basic procedure – checkout, returns, applying discounts, holding or suspending sales and adding customers. Lightspeed was on time with EMV-certified terminal support by the October 2015 deadline and has worked well with Cayan.
Adding products is straightforward. We only use the most basic features of purchase orders and inventory management – we do not rely on Lightspeed to generate orders based on stock but those look like useful features for larger operations.
Reporting is comprehensive and makes it easy to track sales and trends and reports are easily exported to Excel.
Customer service has been prompt and when there are long wait times, you have the option to leave your number and receive a return call. Follow through on issues has been good and while there have been challenges, problems are resolved in a timely manner.
For the products we produce, the “build” function works well to create the pieces from parts in inventory.
The main unresolved issue I have had with Lightspeed is that it rounds the cost of items to two decimal places. We deal in 100s of pieces that are fractions of a cent and therefore simply cannot track costs. All of these items show as have no cost which is extremely problematic and exponentially so when a piece is created from several “no cost” items. I was told almost two years ago that a fix had been requested by many customers and indeed it was listed several times in the “Lightspeed Ideas” but to my knowledge nothing has been done. If this could be fixed, Lightspeed would be an almost perfect POS solution for us!
Also it is spendy. But I guess you get what you pay for.
Great reporting, easy to use simplicity. Constantly improving the software, interface, features, etc. It is superb for inventory management. Gift Cards are easy to use, re-use, re-charge, etc. Customer loyalty programs are being integrated, once more are integrated, this platform will be far above the competition.
This platform is great for starting small, or large. It has all the features you didn't know you would need. With constant feedback from customers like myself, they are constantly listening and improving the retail POS systems.
I know I list quite a few things I don't like, but the software's great qualities far exceed the negatives, which may be phased out sooner or later with updates.
Cloud based, when it has issues, you are stuck with just an iPad or Computer. Nothing can be done with the systems. No sales, no reports, nothing. The Technology division reports that they are working to improve infrastructure, so I hope that happens before the 2015 holiday season. They are a very popular POS system and are growing very fast.
Credit Card readers are subpar with Element Payments, but improving. Plus the EMV card readers are due in a couple of months. I've used both the headphone & lightning connector styles for the iPad. Each have positives and negatives. The headphone card reader wears out if you swipe alot, I swipe approx 25-50/day and its lasted about 8 months and is constant on reading cards. Lightning connector card reader isn't designed to be used while charging your iPad. So if you run 50+ transactions in a day on the iPad, you will need to remove the card reader to charge the iPad mid day, because charging the iPad through the card reader takes so long that the iPad uses power faster than its recharged, so removing the card reader to keep the iPad charged is a nuisance. Also the micro usb charging port on the Lightning Card reader looses its connection like all micro USB connectors typically do with wear. The iPad uses Wifi & Bluetooth all day for the internet and barcode reader, so it drains the power quickly. I may switch to the computer versions for holidays when we are busy and cant be recharging the iPad all the time.
When you create your account, be ready to be charged for each employee after you have more than 7 in the system. If you don't keep track of employee sales, times, etc using the system, then a single pin for each sale will work, but if you want to use all the employee tracking features for sales, time, you have to pay for each employee you add to the system after 7 I believe. I use 9-12 employees off and on, so I have to pay for each one for the full year after #7. The employee's should be included in the package price, up to 15, then have a price structure for the next 5, not each one. It becomes more expensive as you grow as a business and want to keep track of employee data.
It has no commissions structure. So if you want to give commissions, you have to do that manually with your reporting data.
In my application the thing I like best is the ability to import new items into my system directly from the distributor's catalog, as long as the catalogs are up to date. The master order is good for basic inventory items once you have reorder point set up. I need a web based system and this one is.
Sorry to say my list is very long for this one.
1. You can not return anything to a vendor....they say they are working on an update so this won't be an issue anymore, however this change has been recommended by users for a very long time and they are just now working on it.
2. If you go to sell something and the system does not see enough in stock, it will magically add enough to your inventory to complete the sale. This does wonders for the accounting side! I don't understand why they will not let you go into negative inventory, but it doesn't.
3. If you sell an item as an each, but buy it as a case, the reorder/master order will not work correctly. For example I buy a case of 200 treats and sell them as an each. If I set my reorder for 1 case when I have 0 cases, I will end up with 200 new in stock and up to 199 from the last case. If I set my reorder point to be 50 (each), and my stock falls to 45 I will now get 5 cases, instead of just 1. This is for anything you buy as a case and sell as an each.
4. Reports...There are a few reports that I need my employees to have access to, but there are many reports I do not want them to have access to. The problem with the software is, it is all or nothing for reports. I can not set it up so they can see the ones that need, without giving them access to ones they should not be seeing.
5. Printing price tags is the biggest headache for me. It is way too long to try to explain, just know if you want to print price tags before you finalize an order this is not the program for you!
6. If there system is down, you are dead in the water. Since April 17th till today July 17th I have experienced 6 outages that ranged from 5 minutes to an hour. Yes that is when customers walk out the door. I am paying for this service and they are costing me money.
7. Random dislikes... No spot for check numbers. Anytime the cash drawer is opened a receipt is printed, and every time a receipt is printed the cash drawer open...even for debit transactions, it will also print 2 copies of every credit card receipt, I have numerous customers that do not want the receipt, so I am just wasting paper. There is no auto fill for customer names or items. There is no warning of duplicate UPC's or Customer names. There is no customer loyalty program or rewards program in the system, I have to pay an outside company in order to give my customers a rewards program.
If anyone is seriously thinking of using Lightspeed, I highly recommend that you sit down and make a list of exactly what you want, how they can help your business succeed on the smallest detailed level, not a generalized list things they say they will do by signing with them. Be specific. Ask a lot of questions. And assume absolutely nothing. Just assuming that I would have a functioning backend database was my downfall.
The frontline customer service agents who answer the phones. I would have to say that 98% of the agents that answered my call were fabulous. Anyone past that frontline defense is a joke.
Honestly, there isn't enough time in my day to go through the four years of hassle and issues they caused for my business. I know for a fact that Lightspeed is the entire reason why I ended up closing my storefront business. There were so many problems and issues that they were aware of, but because it was only happening to a small few, they wouldn't work on fixing the problems, but were very happy to give me a 'work-around' that usually ended up not working either.
You also can tell the company by the ability to talk to management...anyone past the initial agents who answer the phone. With Lightspeed, they won't let you call and talk to a supervisor. Agents are not allowed to transfer an existing customer to a supervisor or manager, only allows the management to call you. There are no emails available, list of names for various departments, and definitely no phone extensions to get further help. They do not stand by their product, therefore, there is no reason to stand by them.
Quick reliable and organized access to: sales, inventory, customer information. A software system that allows me to create POs, send them electronically to vendors, document all aspects of product ordering. A system that provides an eCommerce public facing front-end that is highly customizable.
Ease of use (given how flexible and intricate the program is). Browser based for legacy PCs - with multiple browser tabs allowed to easily switch between POS modules. iPad based app for portability to remote sales locations. Even works on smartphones for quick updates and status checks. Cloud based - therefore, access your business information anywhere you are Internet connected. Great support staff - knowledgeable, friendly and insightful. eCom module (additional fee) plugs in seamlessly allows you to sync retail SKUs so that they are public facing via your Lightspeed hosted website. Item sold on-line via eCom is immediately updated to the cloud and reflected in POS (and vice versa).
While the POS and eCom integration is wonderful, you still must manage inventory on both platforms in order to get the desired results. For example, when new inventory arrives you receive the items through your POS based purchase order. This boosts your inventory and handles new/updated cost, retail pricing, etc., and passes all of this on to eCom. However, you then need to access eCom to update public facing product narratives, SEO related fields, related products, additional category related references, etc.. So, while both programs are great and work together - it will be even better when FULL integration of the two programs is achieved.
Front end looks pretty. Sales team is helpful in getting you signed up. Lots of deals to entice you to sign up for that year long package. It does actually link your inventory when everything is working properly.
Support. There is none. Sure they have live chat, a call system that will call you back so you don't have to wait on hold, and email help. But the majority of the time no one can actually help you solve your issue. A lot of "we're looking into that" and "I'll let our tech team know" or "browser was your customer using when they were unable to checkout?". Support is terrible.
Cart overselling. Not one, not twice, but 3x cart oversold in the first 7 months of using this POS with web store. They can't tell you why, or fix it, or offer any help. They will ask you what browser your customers were using though.
Orders not downloading from web store so you are actually aware that there is an order waiting to be shipped, as well as the inventory not updating.
Very small maximum # of characters in product descriptions that can display on web store. Hopefully your product photos speak for themselves because no room for in depth explanations, videos, etc.
Email response time. Generally about 3 days. Seriously.
The ridiculous amount of time it took to get the web store to go live and then the week I spent on the phone/live chat/email with support to try and correct issues to that people could actually check out.
The fact that you can't do the same things on the iPad app POS that you can if you're running the POS through your laptop. I can't discount a single product in the app, and discount applies to every product in the sale. Not annoying at all.
Limited customization of web store.
Our experience with several POS systems over the years indicates that it is important to understand how a proposed POS system works and what the costs are and what the assurance is that the system will work for us. Time spent in learning how well the POS matches our processes is very important. Fortunately, we took the time to go over our needs in depth with Lightspeed sales and were able to be sure the solution fit our needs before purchase. We are very happy with our Lightspeed product and service.
We have used Lightspeed Retail for about 5 years and have integrated it with their Webstore ecommerch for 2 years before changing over to Lightspeed Ecom for the past 8 months. Getting POS and integrated ecommerce to work together takes more work than most people realize, so it is important to have technical support available that is willing and competent. We have found Lightspeed to be flexible enough to work with our preferences for POS and ecommerce. And, we have had excellent experience particularly with the Ecom help and also with Lightspeed POS help.
We have found very few problems with the POS and Ecom products. There is a small rounding issue so that occasionally PO's need to be adjusted by a few cents to match an invoice amount from a supplier. We have almost always been able to get the results we need by calling tech support and telling them what we are wanting to do and getting their suggestions about possible solutions.
Lightspeed's customer support is excellent overall. At least half the time when we experience a problem, it's due to our lack of understanding rather than a shortfall of the product. Their responses are usually prompt and helpful. Also, in almost three years of using the product, we have had virtually zero downtime and have seen nary a hiccup through numerous system updates and the occasional hotfix.
Tons of valuable information for every product we sell. And in contrast to some other systems that try to pack everything on a single page, Lightspeed Retail allocates product information across a menu of pages so you can quickly navigate to the data you want (and ignore what you don't want). And much of the information is searchable in ways that help our business create purchase orders and determine which products to stock or discontinue.
We have been cautious in taking advantage of partnerships available through Lightspeed (i.e., their ecommerce platform and loyalty program), but our recent experience with both of those has been excellent.
Some aspects of ongoing database management are not transparent to the technically nonproficient user. We have 5500+ SKUs that are constantly in flux, and our list of vendors also changes regularly. Our efforts to clean up the clutter of stale information are not always successful. And some types of searches are not well supported (so far).
It's not the people, really. Anyone you speak to are fabulous, however, the company ties their hands in what they can do. They have so many qualified and skilled people, but the company has focused on growing worldwide and not actually the logistics of knowing what their own policies and procedures are. Customer Support is constantly trying to put out fires and fix issues in Production instead of figuring all that out in the Testing Phase. And if you actually find a problem in which the Support staff agrees is a problem and creates a ticket for it, when it goes to the next lead programmer, they tend to dismiss it and never let you know.
The Customer Support Staff that you talk to from, unfortunately, the only one phone number they have available.
- Expects customer to use the API if they need any design changes
- Expects the customer to keep track of problems they find and keep having to contact them
- Absolutely no ability to contact any management in any way, shape or form. All emails are the same but are coded in a way that they will go back to them but only if they send you an email directly. If you expect someone in management to contact you but they don't, you're screwed. And since there is only one phone number to use to call, that only gives you the general support staff or Billing. What I have generally found is that Support understands exactly what's going on and understands what you are going through and what needs to be done. It's the second line of defense that who think you're crazy, or the standard comment is that they are aware of the problem and are working on it. However, the problem isn't listed anywhere in the CMS that the customers are allowed to see...which displays only customer requests, not the actual problems that they are working on.
HORRIBLE! They will mislead you to get you into the contract. They do not care about the business or business owner. Their customer service is Horrible. They would rather argue with you than help you and never call back when they say they will. I have been with them for 3 years and would love to get out but they have me locked in for another year and they won't budge. THERE IS NOW WAY TO STOP YOUR EMPLOYEES FROM DOWNLOADING YOUR ENTIRE CUSTOMER BASE AND INVENTORY INCLUDING COSTS, PROFITS, AND MARGINS. Try it. Log in as an employee and click export in the items screen or the customer screen. In two clicks they have your entire business. Managers can not build, send or check in purchase orders without seeing all costs and profits. Unless you plan to always be in store and never have employees alone in the store DO NOT GO WITH LIGHTSPEED. They don't care and will just keep coming out with new items to charge for that should just be ongoing upgrades to their core system such as the new analytics. They have come out with over 4 new items to charge for while not fixing the issue they knew about for over two years. They just don't care.
Good looking, can be used easily. The software itself isnt horrible it is the service and the fact that they dont care about you or your business and they will not fix major issues within the software
Customer service is horrible, your employees can down load all items with costs, profit, margin, and your entire customer base and there is no fix and they don't care.
Lightspeed's products have one strong point: A broad set of features. Lightspeed has made sure to buy software with a lot of capabilities to resell. Unfortunately, this means that they don't seem to actually know how their software works. In the three years I've been using their software it's been the most unreliable and unstable piece of software I've ever used. Their desktop program still crashes on a daily basis and many functionality problems have not been fixed. The current version of our website has been running for about a year with major functionality problems that, to my knowledge, Lightspeed hasn't even looked into. The new version (eCommerce) which we're being forced to upgrade to, isn't actually finished or feature complete. They claim to support payment processors that they don't support, and of the few that are supported some of them aren't even functional in Canada, the country where Lightspeed is located. They clearly don't take customer service or their clients' business seriously. With the amount of problems we've had and the amount of money we've spent, I would expect some sort of account manager to contact us and make sure everything is working smoothly in order to retain us as a customer, but that just doesn't seem to be a priority.
Plenty of features.
Easy to learn.
Incredibly unstable and unreliable.
Poor customer service.
Lack of updates or further development.
Largely exclusive to Apple products.
We've been using Lightspeed Retail for close to a year now and have been very happy. My biggest compliment is how user friendly the entire platform is. The system is very intuitive which saves me hours when training a new employee. Any computer-literate person can jump in and figure out the essentials on their own in a matter of minutes. I'm still learning the ins and outs of some of the more advanced settings/reports, but if they're anything like the features I use daily, I suspect I'll be happy with those too.
I've had to call customer support several times over the last year, and each time has been a pleasant experience. Most recently, I was on hold, waiting for a representative to pick up. After about 30 seconds, I was offered to have them call me back once one became available. It worked well because I could go back to working on other things. About 20 minutes later, I got the call, the rep immediately fixed one of my issues, then said he'd have our account manager call back to help with my other question (he wasn't able to make the changes I was requesting). Our account manager called back later that day, and after doing some research, got us exactly what we were hoping for.
I can understand people's dissatisfaction with being on hold or waiting for someone to call you back. If it's an urgent issue, that would be very frustrating. Maybe we've been lucky, but none of the issues I've had to call about have been time sensitive so it worked really well having them call me back instead of being stuck on the phone waiting for someone to pick up.
All in all, we've be very satisfied with their service. Hopefully things continue to improve!
Honestly, I have very little complaints. Maybe have more support reps so there's no hold time? But I realize adding the extra staff would get expensive quick.
We made the switch to Lightspeed, from Quickbooks, in 2011 during a major expansion of our 1000 sq ft retail clothing store. It was the perfect choice to meet our quickly growing needs for a better organized and more functional way to track inventory, make sales and view reports -- in fact, we really regretted not switching earlier!
The easy to use POS screen made training our employees a breeze and ensures that sales data is captured completely and systematically for each transaction -- something we didn't have the ability to do when we were hand-typing each sales invoice in Quickbooks. Plus, the addition of integrated hardware (a barcode scanner, barcode label printer, cash drawer and receipt printer) accomplished even more than faster transaction time and more accurate inventory records -- it made our sales staff seem more professional and our customers feel more comfortable.
Inventory tracking is one of the biggest strengths of this software. You can determine how much information you want to enter about each product, depending on what data you want to collect - multiple suppliers and costs, UPC codes, margins, related products and packaging... It was revolutionary for us to be able to know exactly what we have in inventory instead of confusing spreadsheets full of inconsistently described merchandise. We love that we can see detailed information about which products we have on the floor versus what's in storage, that we can quickly compare expenses with profits, and that we can create reorders and customer - specific orders with a couple of clicks.
We also added the Lightspeed webstore when we switched to Lightspeed - and we're so happy that we did. We'd tried using several different platforms for an online shop, but kept running into the nagging issue of inventory maintenance since we were listing the same products online that were for sale in our brick-and-mortar shop. Lightspeed provides us with an integrated inventory for both stores, updating our database live, so that we never sell the same item twice. Products are easy to add to (or remove from) the webstore and web sales are easy to track. Plus we were able to do quite a bit of customization ourselves, adding both functionality and attractiveness to the existing template. We'd recommend that if you're going to use the Lightspeed web store, you work closely with a web developer who can help you get the most out of this great feature.
Lightspeed customer service has been impeccable. They're fast, kind and very knowledgeable. Plus they really seem to care that you and your business succeed, with the help of their software. We'd recommend that you purchase the Maintenance Plan so that you get instant access to their support gurus. Totally worth it.
It's an easy interface to navigate. Sometimes, the support is friendly. Sometimes, the support is useful.
It's ok if you're a small boutique, but if you have thousands of SKUs take a pass - Lightspeed can't handle it. It's constantly stalling and and crashing. Support told us we needed new computers. We did that - no improvement and we're out thousands in unnecessary computer upgrades. The support team straight up lies to tell you a feature is coming until you re-sign, then tell you that feature was never being worked on and won't be anytime soon. There are simple things like splitting a receipt into multiple gift receipts (a must for a major retail store selling multiple gifts to one person) that Lightspeed can't do. You have to ring each transaction in separately, upping your checkout time hugely. Every restaurant software on the market can split bills, but for some reason, LS can't. Support is fair at times, surly at others. You can just tell everyone working on it has zero understanding of what a functioning retail store is actually like. If you run a sales report for seasonal products you sold last summer for example, it will include every product you've ever had, whether it's current or not. I could go on for ever.
I own a small retail shop and utilize LightSpeed Retail and LightSpeed eCom. I moved from Checkout for Mac to LightSpeed when my needs required more accurate reporting and a more thorough online presence. While I felt a little pushed during initial email/phone contact, the information was complete and to the point. I had absolutely no problems with the transfer of data over and the ease in setting up new products is seamless, once the concept is explained. Their technical support team is wonderful and has always resolved any of my issues right away. I love the ease in use of the checkout. I have several seasonal employees and assuming they remember their passwords, can jump right back in where they left off, no retraining needed. My husband loves the incredible detail of the reports and the import into Quickbooks works just fine. eCom is a huge improvement over the old 'webstore' product. I set this up on my own also...just spending time in the product will take you far, then schedule your onboard training. That way you already have questions in mind and they can review what you have established. We have over 8000 sku's, LightSpeed handles it seamlessly. In the event of an minor outage, the IT team jumps to fix the issue promptly. I also added Cayan payment processing and their Genius terminal. No more double entry and payments are accurately reported. I love that this terminal communicates with the program without the use and expense of a payment bridge. They also reduce my monthly processing charges. I haven't once regretted coming onboard. LOVE IT!!!
Accurate reporting and a more thorough online presence.
Ease of transfer of data over and in setting up new products
Quick to respond technical support team
ADDED - Cayan integrated payment processing and their Genius terminal.
No offline availability. If internet is down, you can't do anything.
No automatic notice of duplicate customer names.
No automatic account creation of customer names with credit card payments.
Unable to add single item on multiple item sale to special order.
I am truly afraid to see what kind of inventory count discrepancies we'll have at the end of the year based on the way the year started with the most random and enormous cluster of import issues.
The software, as a whole has some odd programming choices that I never would have thought to ask about before signing on -- because they're completely foreign to every other POS system I've used, like who would think to ask if they allow negative numbers?
They're cloud-based, which is great for accessing remotely but also allows them to be constantly updating which can cause issues. I wish that they would update at specific intervals and provide customers with update logs.
Their customer support generally tries to be helpful and you can almost always reach someone.
They maintain a suggestion board and try to address common issues there.
1. Doesn't do "negative on hand" but instead auto-adds to inventory (sometimes auto-receiving from PO's) which can make actual inventory tracking a complicated nightmare.
2. Non-intuitive search which is not inclusive of all fields.
3. Inability to track total changes before finalizing inventory counts.
4. Some serious randomness in auto-combining items during initial import. This caused us HOURS and HOURS of extra labor and things are still not entirely right months later.
5. Complete inability to search custom fields. As a bookstore, we need to be able to search by author - but author is a custom field, so completely unsearchable. We ended up having to make put all our author names in the "brand" field to make them searchable. It's almost useless if the author has numerous co-authors.
Lightspeed suffers from frequent changes in the product. For our store, with over 2000 items and integration with a web store, it is a very big investment in time and money to change systems.
Since we've been on lightspeed, they have developed and cancelled three different e-commerce products: OnSite w/ E-commerce, WebStore, WebStore 2 (rewritten and incompatible). All of these have now been cancelled and we are left with a month to scramble to come up with a replacement. They are trying to coerce us to switch to their latest platform.
No thanks, we've learned our lesson.
One of the *most* important requirements for business software is that it is dependable. Lightspeed treats their products as short-term relationships that can be simply discarded for the next new shiny thing. The real business software would provide an upgrade path and help customers through it. Not lightspeed.
Find a company that can provide a stable platform. Lightspeed can not, it's not in their DNA.
Decent features, though e-commerce is really weak, as is inventory management (you have to export to excel, do counts, and re-import. None of our staff can figure this out--it is complex and error prone).
Horrible continuity of product.
Multiple software products are thrown away with customers left hanging with no transition plan.
It's cloud-based, so I can access it anywhere.
It does not appear that the designers have ever actually worked in the retail business. My biggest complaint is the lack of control in tracking inventory and the two biggest problems are:
1) It has no mechanism to either remove an item out of stock for internal use or for return to a vendor. The options to do so are either to manually adjust the quantity on hand, which means you have no visibility as to why stock has disappeared, or to can "sell" it to yourself, which gives you visibility as to movement, but now you have to adjust your sales reports to remove the fake sales.
2) If you have zero items on hand but attach that item to a sale, it will automatically add the item to inventory rather than recording a negative quantity. This is a problem for two reasons: the first is if an item was sold under the wrong SKU. The wrong SKU stills says zero on hand, but the correct one says you still have it in stock when it isn't. The second problem occurs if an item gets sold before it was received. LS automatically adds an item to complete the sale bringing the quantity on hand to zero, but then, when it gets received, the quantity on hand shows one. The correct solution is for the quantity to go negative, then when the item is received, it zeros out, or you can run a report of negative items so you find the ones that have been sold incorrectly.
Other issues I have is the lack of customizing for reports, they are all canned so I end up running multiple different reports to get the same information I used to get with one report in my old system. The system does not allow for part numbers instead using the product description to identify items. This makes searching for items more tedious, LS's presumption is that you will always have a scanner and a scannable tag on the item but just isn't the case in real life.